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Middletown NJ

Criminal Defense for Middletown, New Jersey

Middletown is one of the the safest cities in Monmouth County, New Jersey and the United States - but crime happens. Middletown is the central city for Middletown Township, which covers 58 square miles from the Garden State Parkway to the Jersey Shore. The town of Middletown is known for a high quality of life, and especially a crime rate that is much lower than most other cities in New Jersey, the northeast and all of America. Middletown has seen a dramatic decline in crime from the late 20th Century to the early 21st earning a rating of 78 out of a possible 100 for being a Safe City. The low crime rate is one of the factors that inspired Money Magazine to vote Middletown as one of the 10 best cities to live in New Jersey.

However, crime does happen in Middletown and the Township from minor possession of marijuana to major incidents that shake up the country (See: Sandy Hook). Violent and property crime rates are low in Middletown, and the majority of offenses that make it to Municipal Court are along the lines of disorderly persons, minor and serious driving infractions, DUI/DWI and possession of small amounts of controlled substances.

If you have been charged with a high crime or misdemeanor in Middletown or the Township, Monmouth County criminal defense attorney Tara Breslow-Testa is the first person you should call. Born, bred and educated in New Jersey (Rutgers), Tara Breslow-Testa has worked both sides of the bench, and is now in private practice - an experienced, dedicated attorney who understands the calculus of court: Squaring off against aggressive prosecutors, negotiating with heard-it-all judges. Ms. Breslow-Testa is known in and out of Monmouth County for her skill and dedication at defending crimes from disorderly persons to sexual assault.

For a free consultation, call (732) 784-2880

Municipal Court and Superior Court

In New Jersey, the types of cases tried in Municipal Court include violations of motor vehicle and traffic laws, disorderly and petty disorderly persons offenses, violations of municipal ordinances (local laws) and violations of Fish and Game laws, Parks and Forests, Weights and Measures, SPCA, and Boating Regulations.

The Municipal Court has jurisdiction only over the cases that occur within the boundary of the municipality. Complaints for more serious crimes like assault, robbery or vehicle theft are sometimes moved up to the Superior Court at the County courthouse, which hears indictable cases.

The Superior Court is divided into two parts, then those parts into sub parts. The Chancery Division deals with cases where equitable relief is sued for - money - and it is divided into General Equity, Probate and the Family Part.

The Law Division also has three parts: Civil, Special Civil and Criminal. The Criminal Part hears “indictable offenses” which are also known as felonies in other courts. These are cases which are presented to a Grand Jury - who hear the evidence and decide whether to return an indictment or decide the case is not worth hearing.

A criminal defense attorney for Middletown and Monmouth County, Tara Breslow-Testa is comfortable in both Municipal Court and Superior Court and will stand by you whether the case is disorderly persons or a felony.

Misdemeanor Drug Offenses

In New Jersey, drug crimes can be charged from first to fourth degree - based on the types of drugs and weight - and the penalties range from being diverted to Drug Court, to being diverted to Life in Prison.

Possession of less than 50 grams of marijuana, possession of five grams or less of hashish and possession of drug paraphernalia are all disorderly persons offenses, which come with a maximum penalty of six months in prison, a $1000 fine, loss of driving privileges and drug rehabilitation.

In New Jersey, it is a misdemeanor crime to fail to hand over marijuana or hashish to a police officer, as is being under the influence of marijuana or hashish (whether you are driving a car or not), is also a misdemeanor. The punishments for these offenses are the same as disorderly persons - six months, $1000 - but also Loss of Public Housing, potential eviction from leased residential premises, loss of driving privileges for not less than six months and up to two years, mandatory loss of driving privileges for two years if the marijuana is in a motor vehicle, community service, $75 Safe Neighborhoods Services assessment, $50 lab fee, $50 Victims of Crime Compensation Board penalty, $500 Drug Enforcement Demand Reduction penalty, probation for up to five years.

A criminal defense lawyer serving Middletown, Tara Breslow-Testa can have your case diverted to Pre Trial Intervention, Conditional Discharge or Drug Court - if this is your first offense, and if the prosecutor and judge are willing to make a deal.

Possession of Controlled Dangerous Substances in a Motor Vehicle.

New Jersey statutes N.J.S.A. 39:4-49.1 define possession of Controlled Dangerous Substances (CDS) while operating a vehicle on a highway - or any prescription drug without a valid prescription.

This is a motor vehicle offense and not a criminal charge, but a serious motor vehicle offense, as conviction requires a mandatory license suspension of two years - plus fines.

If accused of possessing or being under the influence of a CDS while operating a motor vehicle, the state has to prove that: You were operating a motor vehicle, on a highway, while knowingly in possession of CDS or prescription drugs.

Defending drug crimes in Middletown, Tara Breslow-Testa understands these statutes. She knows that if the offense did not take place on a highway, the charges will be dismissed. If it can be proven the driver did not buy the CDS/prescription drugs or was not aware they were in the car, the charge is dismissed.

The farther away from the CDS or prescription drugs were from the driver, the more likely the charges will be dismissed. If the CDS were in the back seat, or the trunk of the car, or possessed by a passenger, that all works in favor of the driver.

Depending on the criminal record of the accused, the weight and nature of the CDS or prescription drugs, and the bargaining power of the attorney, it is possible to have charges set aside in lieu of a plea agreement, conditional discharge, pre trial intervention or drug court.

Reckless Driving

So you hopped into your Tesla S, cranked the Springsteen up to 11 and got caught doing 0-60 in 2.5 seconds (!) right in front of a New Jersey State Trooper. Who might sympathize with the alchemy of The Boss and the World’s Fastest Production Car, but that’s still reckless driving, and you are in a heap of trouble, according to New Jersey statutes 39:4-96:

“A person who drives a vehicle heedlessly, in willful or wanton disregard of the rights or safety of others, in a manner so as to endanger, or be likely to endanger, a person or property, shall be guilty of reckless driving and be punished by imprisonment in the county or municipal jail for a period of not more than 60 days, or by a fine of not less than $50.00 or more than $200.00, or both.

On a second or subsequent conviction he shall be punished by imprisonment for not more than three months, or by a fine of not less than $100 or more than $500, or both.”

In addition to jail time and penalties, a reckless driving conviction also adds five points to your driving record. Six points = probation. 12 points = possible suspension.

And on top of that, a reckless driving conviction will jack up your insurance rate to a point where that Gecko and Flo will turn their backs to you.

A lawyer defending reckless driving in Monmouth County, Tara Breslow-Testa is who you want by your side when faced with fines, jail time, driving record points and higher insurance rates.

Better Call Tara

Clerking for the Honorable Donald J. Volkert, Jr., serving as an Assistant Deputy Public Defender in Union County and then trial court in Monmouth County, Monmouth County criminal defense lawyer Tara Breslow-Testa has worked on both sides of the bench.

If you have been arrested and charged with a criminal offense in Middletown, Tara Breslow-Testa is who you want by your side. For a free consultation, contact Tara at (732) 784-2880.